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My comment made the newspaper!

October 29, 2008, 8:18 PM

I can’t believe it… my comment on Express‘s poll question got published! The poll question was, “Would you object to having your bag searched by transit police before riding Metro?” 54% said that yes, they would object, and 46% said that no, they would not object.

If you read the Express today and saw the three comments that they published on page 40, you may recall that “Ellen” indicated that Transit could go ahead and search them because they have nothing to hide, “CMJR” suspected that profiling of riders will occur, and a third by “BFS” sounded very similar in tone and idea to a Journal entry that I wrote yesterday, talking about throwing money down a rathole.

“BFS”, as you might have guessed, is me, as I posted semi-anonymously, using my initials. Here’s the page, with the comment circled:

Excerpt from October 29, 2008 issue of the Express

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Categories: DC area local news, WMATA

So Metro throws money down a rathole once again…

October 28, 2008, 8:23 PM

According to an article in today’s issue of The Washington Post, Metro has announced that they will be doing random bag searches in response to security concerns regarding the upcoming election and presidential inauguration.

Based on what I’ve read about it, including the Post article and WMATA’s press release, what they’re going to do is set up shop in a station mezzanine or bus stop, and count off a certain number of people such as 15 (I selected this number and will use it throughout this entry), and then stop the person who happens to be that unlucky fifteenth person to search their bags. It’s kind of like an adult version of duck duck goose, except the one who is “it” has a gun. The idea is that these random searches are being conducted to search for explosives, and will take 15 seconds to complete – about as long as a train station stop lasts.

So let’s poke a few holes in this idea, shall we?

First of all, searching every fifteenth rider or whatever does NOT provide any real security. You see, for every one you inspect, you’ve let another fourteen go by. Thus you’re only inspecting roughly 7% of riders. And so when you’re letting 93% of your riders go through uninspected, all you’re doing is wasting the time of the other 7% who you are stopping.

Additionally, the 15 seconds to conduct the inspection is about as long as a train takes to make a station stop. Therefore, being pulled over for the inspection could make the difference between making your train or missing it. During the evenings when train headways start to run around 15 minutes, that makes a significant difference between making it home at a reasonable hour or not. Just thinking about my commute, if I leave outside of rush hour, I have to take the Y bus home. I’ve had to wait more than 30 minutes for Y buses at Glenmont at times, due to the poor service that Metro provides on that route. Thus for a commute that normally takes an hour, it can get stretched out another 45 minutes just having to stand around waiting for the train or bus because you missed your intended train due to their “security” inspections.

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And the Metro costume made it to work…

October 27, 2008, 4:13 AM

Yes, my Metro costume made it to work:

My Metro costume at the office

So now all I have to do is wear it on Halloween. Score!

Categories: Halloween

It appears that I am ready to vote!

October 25, 2008, 6:50 PM

With a little more than a week to go before the election, I went online and made all of my final checks and such, and it appears that I am ready to vote in Montgomery County for the 2008 election. As a first-time Maryland voter, I was concerned that something might have gone wrong in the process when I registered to vote, and I would, for some reason or other, be unable to vote. So this is a good thing. I’d voted in Virginia on numerous occasions, but this is my first time voting in Maryland, and it will be good to again exercise my right to vote.

The way I see it, voting is key to all the various issues that I attend demonstrations about (except Scientology, since that’s a completely different can of beans). You see, if you are eligible to vote and don’t actually go vote, you don’t really have much room to complain when things don’t go well and it becomes time to demonstrate on an issue. Even my anarchist buddies should make sure they are at a voting booth on November 4, because even though they question the legitimacy of the powers being conferred, a lot of their demonstrations involve the actions of elected officials, especially with anti-war demonstrations and some of the discussion regarding controversial highway projects. There, voting the “right” candidate into office might help their causes. So thus I’ll be voting at Bel Pre Elementary School on November 4, and then I’ll see you in the streets.

Meanwhile, I also got to take a look at the Montgomery County sample ballot, available on the University of Maryland‘s site. Besides voting for president and vice president (where there are six candidates on the ballot, plus a write-in), we’re also voting for our member of Congress, a circuit court judge, two referenda on special appeals court judges, three school board candidates (one running unopposed), as well as state referenda on early voting, and slot machines, and two local referenda on repealing “legally ineffective provisions” of the county charter, and on property taxes.

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And there you have it!

October 23, 2008, 9:41 PM

The costume is complete – well, at least the “A” side is complete. I still have to finish the “B” side of the costume. Still, take a look:

The completed Metro costume

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Categories: Halloween

So the painting on my costume is finally complete…

October 22, 2008, 12:43 AM

Yes, my Breda has been fully painted. Take a look:

The paint is done!

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Categories: Halloween

Car fire!

October 19, 2008, 2:36 PM

Just about 20 minutes ago, a car caught fire just down the street from my apartment complex. I noticed smoke and flames from my balcony door, and grabbed the Kodak to go down and see what I could see. By the time I got down there, the fire department had put the bulk of the fire out, and was working to make sure that it was completely extinguished before leaving. Check it out…

Spraying foam on the fire.
Spraying foam on the fire.

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Categories: Silver Spring

I’ve seen buses in odd conditions before, but this is ridiculous!

October 17, 2008, 10:50 PM

I wonder what happened with Ride-On’s bus #5718. It’s a 1999 Orion V, and it sported a few unusual features for my commute this morning. For one thing, it sported no stop annunciator – the device that announces the stops. “Georgia Avenue and Glenallan Avenue. Georgia Avenue and Epping Road.” And “Stop requested!” Ride-On put stop annunciators on just about all of their buses last November and December. How did this one get missed? Of course, not that I mind not having to hear that voice sometimes. It’s too loud on Ride-On buses. Then this bus also had no advertising along the ceiling, unlike most Ride-On buses.

And to top it all off, what is wrong with this picture?

Ride On bus 5718, which is missing its farebox

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Categories: Halloween, Ride On

My costume is starting to take form…

October 17, 2008, 12:48 AM

My Breda is brown:

My Metro costume with brown paint on it

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Categories: Halloween, WMATA

One has to wonder what’s going on with this…

October 15, 2008, 7:15 PM

One really must wonder what kind of construction work is going on here:

Sign announcing the temporary closure of the Glenmont bus loop

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Categories: WMATA

Not bad for an hour’s work…

October 15, 2008, 12:09 AM

Take a look:

The Metro costume with the lines drawn

(Apologies for the poor image quality – I hiked the contrast way up to make the lines easier to see)

As you can see, the drawing is basically finished. It looks like a Metro train all right, and it appears that the decision has been made: I’m going to be going as a Breda of some kind. Right now, the windows are square like the 2000 and 3000 series, but that wouldn’t stop me from rounding off those windows and being a 4000-series. Or I could round off one side and not the other and be 4018-4019. After the Woodley Park-Zoo accident, 4018 got squared-off windows during the repairs, while 4019 kept its original rounded windows.

So the drawing phase didn’t take very long at all. Now I get to start painting, turning this thing the proper shade of brown and aluminum to make it properly Metro.

Categories: Halloween, WMATA

Time for a fun little craft project…

October 14, 2008, 10:30 PM

It’s getting close to halloween already, and we’re having a costume party at work. I am going as something that showcases one of my little geekish interests and will certainly be unique. Specifically:

Breda 4000-Series car

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Categories: Companies, Halloween

“On your mark… get set… GO!”

October 6, 2008, 2:47 PM

So I found an episode of the syndicated version of Double Dare on YouTube. It’s here, here, and here. I especially love the third part, which contains the obstacle course. Those were always fun to watch. I actually wanted to be a contestant on Double Dare one day, but you know how it is. During much of Double Dare’s run, I was far too young to actually be a contestant, and then by the time I was about contestant age, my interests had shifted.

Of course, that was the show to watch in its time. And it was always odd that early on, both teams wore red uniforms, but the one side was most definitely blue. I remember thinking, about time! when the team to host Marc Summers’ right (our left) finally started wearing blue uniforms. But yeah, this was my show. I could even recite the rules perfectly:

I’m going to ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer or think the other team hasn’t got a clue, you can dare them to answer it for double the bucks. But be careful, because they can always double dare you back for four times the amount, and then you have to either answer that question or take the physical challenge.

Yes, I was a Double Dare geek in my day. What can I say? And then my mother also made things quite amusing as well. First of all, take a look at the third clip for a moment:

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Categories: Television

And the hat showed up today.

October 2, 2008, 8:14 PM

My Gatsby cap showed up today. So how does it look?

See how much better the smile looks after coffee has been had?
See how much better the smile looks after coffee has been had?

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Categories: Clothing

So here are the new glasses…

October 1, 2008, 7:06 PM

So this is what I look like in my new glasses:

New glasses

As you can see, these are a bit squarer than my old glasses, which were themselves a bit squarer than the pair before that. It’s a nice progression there.

My father said I look handsome and smart in my new glasses. Meanwhile, I was not too pleased with the smile in this photo. It looks forced, doesn’t it? I took it on my office Mac first thing in the morning, and I had not had coffee yet.

But those are the new glasses, and so far, I like them, but they still need a minor adjustment, as they’re slightly up on one side, and I’m noticing it. But I think we have a winner.

Categories: Glasses